Vicki, Home Buyer in Palm Springs, CA

Prices seem to be considerably lower in Desert Hot Springs, CA. What are the factors behind this?

Asked by Vicki, Palm Springs, CA Sat Feb 16, 2008

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Vicki,

I am a local realtor with listings in Desert Hot Springs CA. Desert Hot Springs is 13 miles north of Palm Springs. It was one of the few places in the Desert with lots of available land. When the boom hit a couple of years ago everyone in the building industry moved in and started building thousands of homes. The market is just saturated with these brand new homes. At the same time Desert Hot Springs did not have a strong city governement and was not able to keep up with the ensuing demand for services. As a result you ahve a community where basic services and amenities (such as shops and community activities) lag far behind the actual developmental level in housing.

That is the main reason the prices are so low. If you can buy and hold Desert Hot Springs may be somewhere you want to look into. If you think you would be selling again in less than five years my advice would be to stay away from Desert Hot Springs.

If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to contact me.


Michael Layton
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
I guess I get a little defensive of this city, especially when I see comments like the one posted by Farinhite_451 who clearly has no current information on this city and doesn't bother to post their name. Desert Hot Springs has a stigma attached to it based on very old information. I live, work and volunteer in this city. My household income puts my family in that "top 3%". We feel safe here, we enjoy having a large yard, wide streets HUGE views of the entire valley and mountains and a sense of community found in only a few of the smaller country club neighborhoods on the valley floor.

Depending upon WHERE in Deert Hot Springs you are looking, it can be windy, that is true, but the nicest parts of the city are not in the wind. The areas tucked against the mountains are not windy, have elevations FAR above the desert floor cities that Farinhite mentions and stay cooler in the Summer and warmer in the winter (higher elevation=cooler, not in the shadow of the mountain=warmer in the winter). As far as dust goes, the entire Coachella Valley is in the Desert - ALL the cities get their share of dust, and when the Santa Ana winds blow during the summer, it is the valley floor cities that get pounded.

There is NOT a problem with meth labs in Desert Hot Springs and hasn't been such a problem for MANY years.

The City has a new City Council, a new City Manager and a new Police Chief and more and more volunteers pitching in to make the city great. This is the first time in ten years that the city is finally on track - something that someone who lives in Los Angeles would not bother to learn.

There are some areas (as any ALL of the Desert Cities) that I would caution any buyer about. ALL of the Desert Cities have their less desirable areas.

The West side of Desert Hot Springs and the Mission Lakes area are both beautiful and still some of the most affordable areas in the entire valley. Take a look at Mission Lakes Country Club and Mountain View by Mission Lakes. There are newer homes on the West side of town and we are seeing buyers who own properties in La Quinta, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert buying homes here now. Those who live in the valley full-time know the difference.

The ONLY current drawback we make sure buyers understand is a lack of services. Some of the better shopping and most of the entertainment is in the lower valley. Well, I am happy to drive 15 or 20 minutes to get there and then come home to a quiet, friendly neighborhood.

I hope this very biased but very informed information helps!

Gary Drake
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 8, 2008
Gary, I posted a question reading but no answer yet, where do you have to go in DHS to not be in the wind? Is it above Pierson or Hacienda , I'm guessing the closer the city is to the 10 Fwy the more wind you might get, as I also read North PS is windy also.. is this correct? I'm going by info given from Friends in Cathedral City that read the PS news paper
Flag Sun Apr 20, 2014

Desert Hot Springs went through ten years of corrupt and/or irresponsible and innept government and became labled as the bad seed of the desert. Many real estate agents who do not work in this city have never seen the positive side of this town and will just bash it without having any basis for their judgement.

Last year, thanks in large part to the number of homeowners living in Desert Hot Springs full-time now, the voters tossed out the old City Council and elected a pretty darn good slate of City leaders. The City also has a new Police Chief and a new City Manager and, for the first time in ten years, all three groups are working well together.

The City had allowed some areas to fall into very sad disrepair and neglect while the newer side of town (on the West) started building out and cleaning up.

This city has some of the greatest views in the Coachella Valley, the SECOND HIGHEST RATED WATER IN THE WORLD (how's that for a great asset) and its famous natural hot mineral springs. Now, they have a good bunch of people pointing the city in the right direction.

If your plan is to buy and hold for about five years, there are some GREAT homes at VERY GREAT prices in Desert Hot Springs. If you think you will need to sell your home in less thatn three to five years, my suggestion is to hold off (but I would make that suggestion to anyone buying a home in the Palm Springs / Coachella Valley right now).

Please let me know if you would like more information on Desert Hot Springs - I work in this City and am involved as a volunteer with the Police Department, keep up-to-date on the City planning and agenda items and just try to keep myself informed on the City.

Gary Drake
3 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 3, 2008
This is a Great Question! The city can be very spoty but there are some really nice areas on the west side of town such as Mission Lakes ( On county Land) and a gated community called Mountain View. The town has been treated like the wicked step sister of the valley. There has been high crime rates and in the past very bad politics. Since this new year there is a new city council and new police chief and things are looking up after quite a few years. There are some great deals in Desert Hot Springs but make sure you have a Realtor that really knows the area and can help you find an area that will work for you. Desert Hot Springs just won an award for there water 2nd best in the world and has Natural hot mineral waters. The views are also great! its not a town for everyone but it does have some things going for it and i think it is a up and coming town if it keeps on the new track it is on since 2008. I live on the West side and like the small town feel it offers.

If you would like more info call Greg Thomas Thomas&Drake (760) 799-0320
Windermere Real Estate
Palm Desert Office
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 1, 2008
Desert Hot Springs has been the best kept secret in the Coachella Valley. We have had issues with city govenment and have finally got a sitting council that work together and want to see our city finally shine. Our property values are reasonable at this time, but don't wait too long to purchase here. I have been a Realtor in Desert Hot Springs for 11 years with WIndermere and lived in this fine city for 15 years. If you want to know the "real" Desert Hot Springs, please give me a call and I will be happy to give you both positive and negative on my community. Yes, negative too only because there are always good and bad in every city and don't let anyone tell you differently. If you want more for your money this is it. The best thing is you are only 15 minutes from downtown Palm Springs and 23 minutes from Pam Desert. Call me at 760-831-2259, Jessica Gilbert, proud resident of Desert Hot Springs
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
Desert Hot Springs has had many problems in the past years, Many realtors are not aware of what is going on in the city right now. As of April 2nd the city approved a 34M bond for redevelopment. It might be a good time to invest in the city! once this plan starts you will start seeing the city change. Also the city manager RIck Daniels told us that a chain family resturant and grocery store is interested opening shops here. Both Gary Drake and I are active in the city and keep up with what is going on here. With the 34M in monies the city has no chioce but to change for the better, we should start seeing some of this happening in the next 6 months. So looking forward Desert Hot Springs future is looking bright! The bonds have been A rated and Mr. Acosta who is helping the city with this is the same man who worked with Palm Desert years ago, Keep your eyes on this city and when your ready to buy give me a call! Greg Thomas Windermere Real Estate (760) 799-0320
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
Hi Vicki,

One of the things that helps determine value in a home, or anything else for that matter, is how desirable it is to the buyer. In the case of areas like Desert Hot Springs, in my opinion, the distance from areas like Los Angeles, and Orange County, both major employment centers, has influenced the value. The need and desire to live nearer to where one works has always been a driving force in the Real Estate market.

If living nearer to work is not a factor then another would be the "exclusivity" of the area. And, you should never discount the importance of beauty in the area. One of the major advantages to choosing to live in areas like Desert Hot Springs, Victorville, or Adelanto for instance, is the ability to get more, sometimes much more for your money. Generally speaking, most of the lots are larger than those you will find closer to the city centers.

There are some great homes available in Desert Hot Springs, if you would like to investigate some of them I would be happy to put you in touch with a local expert for the area.

Take care and have a wonderful day!

Tisza Major-Posner, Realtor, Keller Williams (909) 837-8922
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 16, 2008
Good day everyone,
It is now 2014, and the last comments posted here are from 2008.
What can you update me on? I am thinking about relocating out of Los Angeles.
We would commute 3'x a week. We have to absorb our elderly parents, and we cannot afford to do it in Los Angeles, as we live in a 2 BR apartment in NoHo. Also, I will be unemployed this year, because my employer is relocating to TN. I no can do! So we have decided to leave the city to the desert and find a place where we can buy and take care of our elderly parents.

I have read through all of these comments, and would like to know of you DHS natives have any updates or anything that would help us better understand this community, pros and cons. Thank you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 3, 2014
There are no hidden factors at all this area seems to still have land which is underdeveloped ,then again just like any place inventory is getting slim even here.There are good and bad neighborhoods like any other city no hidden secrets.
HENA MARTIN (BROKER)760-251-2868
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 22, 2013
We bought a lovely home north of Mission Lakes Blvd last March and have become snowbirds. The views of the mountains and the valley from our place are fantastic. We have very good neighbors, mostly year-round residents. We've never felt any concern about this neighborhood in terms of safety or enjoyment. For twice as much we could have bought a Palm Springs address out by the airport where the winds blow much more than in the hills above DHS.

The downside is that downtown DHS is fairly dismal, though plans are afoot to rejuvenate the core. However, the heart of Palm Springs is only ten miles due south of us. While DHS doesn't have the cachet of the chic stores and aura of wealth, is is a nice down-to-earth community without the la-de-da attitude.

We couldn't be happier with our place.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 20, 2009
Wow! F451,

I think DHS is a hidden jewel, as is Joshua Tree. Of course, if you want to live in the fast lane, go to the places you mentioned. Although, Indio is coming to life, and LaQuita is not only historic, it has a landing strip and G-O-L-F, so who cares if it is an acquired taste. It is good taste.

Back to DHS. It's a small town, so everyone knows what everyone else is doing. Of course, it's only in the paper if you get caught doing it. lol I am sure Meth labs and such are picked up much earlier in DHS than in my neighbor, San Marino, with its gangs of Chinese spies and drug kingpins.

This is a spa (as in hot springs) town. Celebs have come here for years for the rest and privacy.

So we get wind in the desert; who hasn't seen Mariah?

You can always party by just going down the hill, then come home to privacy.

I'm not worried about safety. The first time Bill and I drove up there in the evening to get a feel for the "night life," the local cops checked us out. That's a good sign.

Looking for good prices for a home or an investment? Look where you like. I know where to buy.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 7, 2008

If you need assistance while you are here let me know. As far as DHS, it's all about personal taste and you won't know until you see the area if you like it or not.
Have fun on your trip and good luck.


Sheri Dettman
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 3, 2008
Hi Vicki,
Congratulations! I hope you will have many fun filled days in your condo when the rest of Edmonton is in a deep freeze!.
Thanks to everyone for giving their opinion about DHS. We are heading down this week-end for the purpose of buying a house. I am very much leaning towards DHS, but let us see what happens. All your comments have been very valuable.
I also read the good news about the re-development of downtown DHS.
Stay tuned...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 3, 2008
Greetings, all! Just back from the Coachella and yes, we bought a condo. We finally decided on Palm Springs. Indio was too windy and a lot of it is under construction. We deemed DHS as a good investment, perhaps, but we want to rent out when we're not using it, so that put DHS out of the running. We looked at about 12 units in total. But thanks to everyone for their feedback. It helped and is appreciated.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 3, 2008
Good Morning,
I see there has been lots of answers for the question on Desert Hot Springs. I really take exception to farinhite_451. My husband and I bought a home in Desert Hot Springs in 1990, I was not a Realtor at that time. We have raised 3 children here and have had many opportunities to move to other areas in the valley and have stayed in our community. Truth be told, no bias, this city is about to explode. I met with our city manager last evening and after speaking to him, I am more excited than ever to be a resident in DHS. Anyone who buys property here will be investing in their future. In one year you won't recognize our downtown area. As for children, I am on the board of directors of the DHS Boys and Girls club and we care deeply our our communities children and getting new activities for them. Palm Springs Unified has received monies to build at least 5 new schools and 4 are going to be right here in DHS. Don't be fooled by the past bad publicity on Desert Hot Springs. Oh and by the way this is coming from a proud resident, not a Realtor. I love my community and am excited about things to come.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 3, 2008
Just curious Greg and others- is DHS family based or is it more attractive to the over 55 crowd. Is it considered disireable for retirees, with good medical facilities or must one always drive to PS or RM for medical needs?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
I have lived and worked in this area for 10 years and yes there are lower priced homes in Desert Hot Springs. I sold a view lot up there that was never built on by the buyer. A friend of mine wanted to buy up there I found her a home, she became active in the city affairs, gave up and moved on. So my advise would be to look carefully at the lifestyle offered to see if it is a fit for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 2, 2008
Hi Sheri,

Thanks - I may just do that.
We are looking at the MLS every day and I do realize that DHS is not a very good rental area.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 27, 2008
Hi Anne,

As you know, just because something is inexpensive doesn't make it a good value. If you are looking in the $250,000 range please contact me. I have a lot of Canadian clients looking in that same price range and if you know where to look, depending on your needs, there are a lot of good opportunities available. If you are going to be renting your home, in my opinion, there are better choices than DHS.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 27, 2008
Hi Vicki,

We are in the same boat as you. It is very tempting to look at properties in DHS - our Realtor tells us to stay away but when you can get a 3 BR house with pool and spa and a fantastic view for $250.000. ........... You would have to pay $400 - 450.000 for the same type of house in Palm Desert or Palm Springs and then be lucky not having to look at power lines.
Have you made a decision yet? We will be buying something in the next couple of weeks but we are still sitting on the fence as to where to buy. We plan to hold on to the property for 5 - 10 years and rent it out. I understand that the rental income for Desert Hot Springs may be considerably less than south of the free-way. We have also checked out properties in North Indio. Prices there are also very good.
Question; Have you bought yet? If yes, where?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 27, 2008
HI Vicki -

I'm a real estate person in the desert area. Desert Hot Springs was the next hot bed for new housing. Homes went up fast, were bought by investors & resold to more investors; leaving a glut of properties & a lack of people to occupy them. Many new homes are sitting empty & subject to vandalism. We've had appliances, a/c units & even a front door stolen from my investor clients properties. DHS is 100 miles outside of LA, so any parolees who move there from LA only have to check in with their probation officer once a month. I have 3 short sale listings and am picking up 4 more as landlords cannot collect any rents from the tenants and are walking away as prices decline.
If you want a deal on a place, check out North Indio, it's the same scenario, but a better crowd. You get what you pay for, if you can afford a little more, get on the other side of the I-10.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2008

You've read the realtor propaganda. Now for some realty. The truth is that Desert Hot Springs is the one of the least desirable city in the area that makes up Coachella valley. The reasons that the homes are cheaper there, is because the city sits away from the mountains and therefore it's very windy and dusty, some people believe that there are a lot of meth labs in the area as well as the lesser desirable types of people that accompany them. With your more powerful Canadian dollar, you should concentrate your search in the more desirable cities of Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, and the Southern sections of Palm Springs, and depending on your taste, La Quinta.
The lesser desirable places to live are Indio, Cathedral City, and the Eastern and Northern parts of Palm springs. Essentially, the closer you are to the mountains, the better the area.

I hope this unbiased opinion from someone who really loves the area helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 7, 2008
Location, location, location could not be more applicable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008

It is the desert and attracts a certain type of buyer. Typically properties are less expensive there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 16, 2008
Pam Winterba…, Real Estate Pro in Danville, VA
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